Merry Wanderer of the Night + TIME

Shopgirl: A Novella by Steve Martin

Shopgirl: A Novella

by Steve Martin is the story of Mirabelle, a 28 year old artist working at Nieman's glove counter. There are two men interested in her. First there is Jeremy, an awkward 20-something who works for Doggone amplifiers as an airbrush artist. They go on a series of non dates, which Jeremy asks Mirabelle to pay for, before he finally asks Mirabelle to sleep with him. After some difficult foreplay they get the job done, but Jeremy mostly disappears from the story after that.

The second love interest is Ray Porter, a successful businessman dividing his time between Seattle and LA. He is divorced and has never learned how to have a relationship, although he does know what will make women interested and has enough money to fulfill all their desires. He treats Mirabelle like a princess, even though he has no interest in a long term relationship with her.

While Ray and Mirabelle are having a strange and unsuccessful relationship, Jeremy is touring with a band and becoming a twisted version of a businessman. Mirabelle considers her feelings about her father's seven year love affair and how it has changed her life.

I read this book for Bibliofreak's November Novella Challenge. I really liked it, except for a few quibbles. I have never read anything by Steve Martin before and it was odd because Steve Martin has always reminded me of my dad. This is probably because I was obsessed with Father of the Bride and watched it almost every day when I was in fourth and fifth grade (this is not an exaggeration, I am unfortunately quite serious). The writing is actually quite good, the characters are well developed and I could really relate to Mirabelle, who is also obsessed with Victorian novels. It is highly sexual, bordering on raunchy, but it didn't feel out of place in the novel. Martin obviously has a pretty good grasp on the "human experience"; the bulk of this book is about figuring out who you are. My main problem with this book is that sometimes characteristics appear and then disappear. The best example of this is Ray Porter. It is mentioned a few times throughout the novel that his job has something to do with number, but it isn't until the final chapter that we see him quickly doing mathematical problems in his head in regards to relationships.

Pub. Date: September 2005
Publisher: Hyperion
Format: Paperback, 160pp

I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you make a purchase using one of my links I will earn a small percentage which will then go back into this blog.

best, book review, LIFE, love story, novel, november novella challenge, steve martin, and more:

Shopgirl: A Novella by Steve Martin + TIME